Julia Child is not an easy act to follow. So it took me a while to find another recipe worthy of being pressure cookerized. Michael Natkin , the man behind the culinary adventurous veggie blog Herbivoracious, is publishing his first book by the same name today! In celebration, he has kindly agreed to let me convert a recipe from his new book to pressure cooker.
Michael is an avid pressure cook and although his book only has a few passing mentions about pressure cooking I plucked out one of his regular recipes to address a few more points to consider when converting your favorite (or new just-published vegetarian) recipe to the pressure cooker..
Start with a good recipe – Everyone and their brother is writing and publishing recipes online – and only the recipes with the best marketing, not the best outcome, seem to make the first page of a web search.
HOW TO DO IT: Don’t overlook your bookshelf or talented cooks as a source of good recipes. Start with good, trustworthy recipe that has been tested. And, of course, if you ever share the pressure cookerized version be sure to give credit to that source!
Re-size to fit – Michael’s original recipe, for example, was written for 9×13″ baking dish. There is just no way you could ever make that much bread pudding fit in a pressure cooker that has a round 8″ opening.
HOW: Look at the recipe, especially if it’s a sweet, and look for ingredients that are not easy to separate. In the case of Michael’s recipe eggs are the ingredient that is the most difficult to separate (Have you ever seen a recipe for half an egg?! Exactly.) My 7″ round pressure cooker insert can hold a little less than half of Michael’s recipe so I decided to do the easiest thing and just halve his recipe (bringing the 4 eggs needed to 2). Either the bread pudding would sit a little taller or.. just make the left-overs in a little personal pud..
WARNING: This recipe is for dark chocolate lovers, only. It has a very rich flavor and lots of chocolate. For fun, I made a second version with high-quality milk-chocolate so that the kids could enjoy this recipe, too!
Chocolate-Chunk Bread Pudding – pressure cooker recipe
Adapted from Michael Natkin’s new book Herbivoracious. I halved the recipe, made it in the pressure cooker instead of the oven, and added a sugar finish (I can’t resist a crunchy top)!
2 cups water
1 tablespoon raw sugar
Prepare the pressure cooker by adding two cups of water and the trivet. Then, prepare the heat-proof dish by slathering a pat of butter on the inside (reserve the rest for later). If the heat-proof dish does not have a handles either put it in a steamer basket with handles or, construct aluminum foil “helper handles” to help you lower the dish and pull it out of the pressure cooker
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the there is no more grind of sugar granules under your whisk. Then add the milk, vanilla extract and salt.
Pour the bread cubes into the mixing bowl and lightly mix with your fingers and let stand 5 minutes. Then, mix again and pour bread cubes and any remaining custard mixture into the buttered heat-proof dish – pushing down slightly if you need to fit them all. Add the chocolate chunks, again mixing lightly to ensure even distribution. Let stand again for another 5 minutes and give everything a final mix.
Place 2 cups water in the pressure cooker and add the steamer basket (or trivet) and lower the un-covered heat-proof dish into the pressure cooker using a foil sling (here’s how to make it) and lower the uncovered container into the pressure cooker.
Close and lock the lid. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum needed to maintain pressure. Cook for 10-15 minutes at high pressure.
Open with the Natural release method – move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on it’s own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cooker, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and count 10 minutes if the pressure indicator has gone down then release the rest of the pressure with the valve.
Carefully lift out the pudding from the pressure cooker and sprinkle the top with raw sugar, and lastly with little dots of butter. Slide under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the top has crisped and the sugar has caramelized.
Serve, as Michael recommends with a drizzle of heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Serves 4-6 (one 7 3/4″ or 20cm pudding or six ramekins)